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Teaching Notes for Mozambique: A Chance for Peace, by Anne L. Phillips.

Since the end of the Cold War, fragile states present of the greatest challenges to national, regional, and global security. The number of complex operations, or Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction missions, has grown significantly since the early 1990s. The record of assistance is decidedly mixed. The successes—Namibia, El Salvador and Mozambique—are outnumbered by the many efforts that have failed or remain in question. Empirical evidence shows that roughly 40 percent of all countries that experience internal conflict succumb to conflict again within a decade following a peace settlement.

The high rate of failure in complex operations can be traced to a number of factors:

  1. Inadequate numbers of personnel who understand the history, culture, tradi­tion, language, key actors, and dynamics of the society the interna­tional community is trying to assist.
  2. The failure to do a well-informed strategic assessment of the situa­tion prior to developing a strategic plan. The UN peace support mis­sion to the Democratic Republic of Congo; U.S.-led missions in Iraq and Afghanistan; and U.S. missions to Somalia, Lebanon, and Haiti all underscore the heavy cost to host country citizens and to mission personnel when a fairly sophisticated strategic assessment does not inform strategy.

Mozambique is one of the few countries that has made a successful tran­sition from civil war to sustainable peace, stability, reconstruction, and development, despite the presence of many factors found in other cases that have failed.